Monday, June 29, 2009

Attempted Sightings of Wild Elephants In The Belum Rainforest


I ventured deep in the unexplored heart of the Belum rainforest last week to catch a glimpse of the elusive herds of wild elephants that throng the vast untouched ancient rainforest in the Grik area. I am very familiar with the East West Highway that links from Grik to Jeli and in my entire life, my family and I have never seen any pachyderms while we were driving on the highway for almost 30 years.
After hours of peering into Google Earth, I pretty much summed up where these gentle giants might be roaming. I started driving from Temenggor Lake to the spot very early in the morning and I was rewarded with this view.
What a view

5 minutes walking on a trail, I saw a few piles of elephant dung. I examined closer and the piles were still fresh!!! Did a herd of wild elephants pass through a few hours ago or were they just around the corner? Seeing their fresh dung kept me excited and finding more along the trail made me realized that I was damn good at Google Earth's geographical topography.
Spotted elehant dung as I walked in

Tahi gajah liar


Still fresh

I was also told that there was a hidden waterfall inside the trail by some Orang Asli and looking at the time, I reckon the wild elephants would be deep inside the rainforest. I hired a guide for Rm20.00 to take me to the waterfall. The guide told me that it would take at least 2 hours to reach this waterfall and that I'd be only the third person to ever visit this waterfall. How I wish my fellow waterfall buddy, Mr Lim Siang Hui was there. Mr Lim and I have discovered 2 relatively unknown waterfalls and this time I had to proceed without him.
Nice tree

20 minutes into the trek, I realized that maybe Mr Lim might not share the same enthusiasm with me as my legs were covered with leeches. The leeches of Belum are a different kind of breed and was gross and disgusting.
Why do I do this?

Pulling out 16 leeches

Entering the unexplored Belum

Crossing the rapids

Slippery rocks

2 hours into the trek and I was feeling miserable. The river was not as clear as I'd hope it would be due to logging activities and the leeches were unbearable. To add to the misery, I was carrying probably a 15kg bag pack for unknown reasons. Finally, I reached the Sayung Waterfall and I stared at the mighty natural wonder with shock and awe.
The elusive Sayung Waterfalls

I spent less than an hour there to make lunch and off I went. Along the way, it rained ...heavily and heavy rain invited all the leeches of this ancient rainforest out for a buffet spread of me, myself and I. Oh how I suffered. Drenched, tired, a heavy bag pack, brown river, leech bites and an uphill route doused my semangat spirit. But once I reached the main road, I was feeling better and trudged my way back to my vehicle.
Drenched and miserable

All in all, eventhough I suffered during the hike to Sayung Waterfalls, I thoroughly enjoyed the discovery of the elephant feaces. Now I know where to wait and spot these beautiful creatures in their wild habitat.


KCC said...

That's a nice view with the sea of clouds. How do you know it's an elephant dung? :)

Chang Boon said...

Well well well I didnt know our recce guy has such a good blog. Hi Teoh, I am Nick, just joined WoM errr Waterfall survivors to be exact. Well you got me glued reading your blog..definitely the most "addictive"??. Keep it up. By the way I would like to participate in one of your recces with Lim if can. Have only been to easy peasy Chiling, so I wanna test myself hehehe

Teoh Yew Aun said...

Hi Chang Boon,

Leave your email and I will give you a call one of these days. I'm planning one too

Chang Boon said...

Here it is : Ah by the way I've actually dropped you my contact in face book. That Janggut falls certainly looks good. Can't wait to hear from you. Well my friend just recommended me to try river rafting. Hmmm maybe after the next exploration to find a new waterfall.

Fong said...

which logging road did u enter? is it the one near (few km away) Kelantan border?